What to Expect

When You Contact              

Information The Contact Center Needs

What Does it Mean to Have Your Lines Marked?

When you contact Texas811 to have your lines marked, you are initiating a process that includes our contact center, utility locators and utility companies working together to prepare you for safe digging. Our contact center takes your information on the work you are planning to do and after identifying which utilities have lines near your work area, we notify the utilities of your plan to dig. The utilities send locators to your site to physically mark the ground to identify the position of the underground lines. The two working days, excluding weekends and holiday, wait between making the request and being able to dig allows the locators to travel to your dig site. Lines may be marked with flags or paint on the ground.

What do the Marked Lines Mean for How I Dig?

Markings provide two important pieces of information.

The color of the markings indicate the kind of utility lines present.

The location of the lines indicate the approximate location of utility lines underground. Approximate position because the exact location of the lines shift slightly as humidity causes the earth to shift. To be safe, you should carefully dig with hand tools within 18” of the markings until you can see the lines.

I Need Emergency Repairs.

When a water or sewer pipe bursts, or electricity is cut off to essential services, it is not feasible to wait two working days before beginning repairs. Texas law provides for emergency repairs in these situations.

An Emergency ticket is used when the work being done is to repair a situation that is a danger to life, health or property. List the disclaimer. Penalties may result if non-emergency situations are reported as an emergency.

Even when making emergency repairs, you must contact 811 prior to digging.

Information Required for a Locate Request

You’ll need to provide the following information to request underground line markings for your work location/site: Information about the work, information about the work location, information about you and/or your company. If you cannot provide all of the information at this time, you may have to re-contact to complete your request and your work could be delayed.

Information About the Work

  • Who is the work being done for? If you’re a homeowner, the work is being done for you. If you’re a contractor, the work is being done for your client. How long will it take to complete the work?
  • Will you be using explosives? We know this is a strange question for homeowners, but Texas law requires that we ask this question. Explosives are most often used in rural areas when other digging methods are impossible due to bedrock.
  • Will you be digging or disturbing the dirt deeper than 16”? That’s the depth that oil and gas pipelines are originally buried. But pipelines shift over time as the surrounding dirt moves and pipelines could end up closer to the surface than 16”. Other lines, especially telecommunication and cable lines may be only inches under the surface. Since we’re often asked, most fence posts are 24” deep.
  • Is the work area marked in white paint or flags? Indicating your planned work area with white marks is not required by law, but it is helpful to locators to know exactly where you plan to dig.
  • What kind of work is being done? For homeowners, this is often building or repairing a fence, building a deck or some similar work. For contractors, the work may be much more involved and we need to know as much detail as you can provide.
  • What kind of ticket/notification is this? Here are the options:
    • A Normal ticket requires two working day notice, excluding weekends and holidays, before work can begin.
    • A Digup ticket is issued if you expose, cut or hit an underground utility while working. If you hit a gas pipeline, even if it is just a scratch, leave the area immediately. Once at a safe distance, please call 911, then Texas811. If you make contact with a utility line that is not a gas pipeline, please contact Texas811 immediately so we can notify the utility whose lines are affected. The utilities will come to the site to inspect the damage and make any repairs that may be necessary. These repairs will NOT COST YOU as long as you have a valid ticket number for your work and all work was done within the scope provided on the request for marking.
    • An Emergency ticket is used when the work being done is to repair a situation that is a danger to life, health or property. Penalties may result if non-emergency situations are reported as an emergency.
    • An Update ticket extends the life of an existing ticket and gets the lines remarked. Updates tickets can be requested during the automated recording or through The Portal.

Information About the Work Location

It is very important that the work location/site be described as accurately as possible to ensure that all of the utilities near your worksite are notified of your plan to dig. We will ask very specific questions about where you plan to work and how to get to the worksite because our Damage Prevention Agents must be able to find your worksite on a map. Finding the location on the map is extremely important because that is how we know which utility companies to notify and which regional office.

  • What county is the work taking place in?
  • What town is the work taking place in? If the work is in a rural area, what is the closest town to your location?
  • What is the address where the work is taking place? If there is no address, please provide driving directions from the nearest intersection. For example, from the intersection go W on Street A 1,250 feet (a quarter mile) to the Street to dirt road. Go S on dirt road 500 feet to intersection of two dirt roads, go E 250 feet to a gate on the S side of the road. Enter the gate and continue S approximately 75 feet to the clearing. There is an electric pole 20 ft W of the clearing. Please locate a 75 foot radius of the pole.
  • What is the name of the street at the closest intersection to your work location/site.
  • Specifically describe where on the property your work area is and how large your work area will be. For example, working in the backyard from the rear of the house to the alley. Or working from the northeast corner of the property, work will extend South by 250 feet and West by 500 feet. Include any additional information that might be helpful like GPS or Map book coordinates.

Information About You and/or Your Company

  • Your name, company name (if applicable), physical address, email, and phone number
  • Primary Contact information (if someone else will be the primary contact at the work location/site) – the same information as before and the best time of the day to contact them

There are two ways to contact Texas811 to request a ticket to have your lines marked.  Both methods are free of charge to you.

By phone at 811.

Listen carefully to the recorded message,

many of your requests can be handled through the automated system before you reach a Damage Prevention Agent.

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By using our Online Ticket Entry System, The Portal, which is available from the button on the top navigation bar or  http://www.texas811.org/portal

If you are a homeowner, you can use the online Homeowner Portal.

The Portal is a program that walks homeowners through the process step-by-step program.

What You Will Receive From Texas811

Your ticket number:  

This number is your proof that you have contacted Texas811 and requested a locate for your work location/site.  You should keep it until the project has been completed.  You will need to provide it whenever you contact Texas811 about this project.

An email copy of your ticket containing a list of all utilities that have facilities in your area, if you have provided an email address.

After the Call to 811